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National Health Federation


The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) just finished meeting all last week (December 3-7) in Bad Soden, a small German city near Frankfurt. Nearly 300 delegates were in attendance, comprised of government functionaries and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) representatives.  So, for one week, the assembled delegates – including the INGO delegation of the National Health Federation (NHF) –met, discussed, and debated a wide number of food and food-supplement issues, including the controversial draft Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for vitamins and minerals.

Those of you familiar with the Codex Alimentarius Commission already know that it is an international body created under the auspices of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization, and is charged with the task of creating global guidelines and standards for food and food supplements.  With some two dozen Committees hosted by various member countries, the CCNFSDU is just one such committee, but a very important one specifically dealing with food nutrition.  Its delegates meet each and every year in order to establish guidelines and standards that will affect the foods that you eat and the supplements you take.

And those who have been following the National Health Federation’s efforts at Codex since the mid-1990s will recall that at the Codex Nutrition Committee meeting in Dusseldorf, Germany in 2009, the NHF singlehandedly launched the opposition that stopped the Australian delegation and others from “dumbing down” these Nutrient Reference Values (which are essentially Recommended Daily Allowances).

Australia and its supporters had wrongly proposed that lower NRVs be adopted for certain important vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C.  For example, the Proposed Draft Additional or Revised NRVs for Labelling Purposes in the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling suggested reducing the Vitamin A NRV from 800 micrograms down to 550 micrograms, Vitamin C down from an already-abysmally-low 60 milligrams to 45 milligrams, Thiamin down from 1.4 milligrams to 1.2 milligrams, Niacin from 18 milligrams down to 15 milligrams, Magnesium down from 300 milligrams to 240 milligrams, and so forth.  Each of these new values would represent 100% of the daily intake for consumers for those vitamins and minerals.


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